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Heat takes a toll on area crops

Some Virginia farmers estimate they'll lose up to half of the crop.

July 21, 2010|Elizabeth Harrington | Reporter
Rob Chewning

ROANOKE, Va — Virginia farmers are feeling the heat.  Some have already declared part of their crops a loss for the year. Recent reports show farmers, especially those that grow corn, estimate the heat will cost them up to half their crops.

At the West End Community market in Roanoke, people farm on a much smaller scale.  But they still see the effects of the hot weather. 

Betsy Stewartson is retired.  She grows vegetables but you won't see any on her table at the market. The hot weather dried up her plants. 

Stewartson was surprised at how quickly the weather changed this summer.

"I've never seen anything turn around as quickly as this season did," says Stewartson, "The spring was beautiful. We had some water. There was moisture in the ground and then that heatwave came in June and in two weeks time everything was gone. I still have a few tomato plants that survived but I'm just not getting any produce at all."


She now bakes bread about 3 days a week and sells loaves at the market for extra cash. 

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The other people at this market say they've had to keep the water running to save their plants. The recent rain hasn't helped.

"When we get rain it'll be heavy and very quick and that actually can do more damage to baby crops," says Brent Cochran from the West End Community Market.

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